II SANDY STARTS TO STUDY GEOMETRY. “MAN, Bawbie, I think I’ll see an’ get into the Toon Cooncil some o’ thae days,” says Sandy to me the ither forenicht. “Me an’ some o’ the rest o’ the chaps have been haein’ a bit o’ an argeyment i’ the washin’-house this nicht or twa back, an’ I tell you, I can gabble awa’ aboot public questions as weel’s some o’ them i’ the Cooncil. I ga’e them a bit screed on the watter question on Setarday nicht that garred them a’ gape; an’ Dauvit Kenawee said there an’ then that I shud see an’ get a haud o’ the Ward Committee an’ get a chance o’ pettin’ my views afore them. They a’ said I was a born spowter, an’ that wi’ a little practice I cud speechify the half o’ the Cooncil oot at the door.” I lut Sandy blether awa’ for a whilie, an’ syne I strikes in, “Ay, juist that, Sandy, but you’ll mibby g’wa’ an’ get that tume saft soap barrel scraipit oot, an the wechts gi’en a black lead; an’ we’ll hear aboot the Toon Cooncil efter your wark’s dune.” “Oh, but I’ll manish that, Bawbie,” says he, gey snappish-like; “but still a man wi’ brains in’s heid canna juist be setisfeed wi’ saft soap an’ black lead a’thegither.” “Ow weel,” says I, “you wud mibby fa’ in wi’ a fell lot o’ baith o’ them, even i’ the Toon Cooncil. When you’re wantin’ a favour, a little saft scap — altho’ it’s only scraipins — is sometimes a very handy thing to hae; an’ if you dinna get what you want, you can pet on the black lead syne. There’s a fell lot o’ that kind o’ thing gaen on, an’ nae mistak’. There’s Beylie Thingymabob, for instance—but, of coorse, that’s no’ the point—” “What I was ravin’,” brook in Sandy, “was that when a man’s heid’s fu’ o’ brains, an’ them wirkin’ juist like barm, he maun hae some occupation for his intelleck, or his facilties ‘ill gie wey. There’s Bandy Wobster, for instance, tak’s up his heid wi’ gomitry an’ triangles an’ siclike, juist ‘cause he has some brains in his heid, an’ maun occupy them; an’ what for no’ me as weel?” “Gomitry an’ triangles!” says I. “Ye’ll mibby be for into the flute band next, are ye? Weel, I’ll tell you this — I ken naething aboot the gomitry, or what like a thing it is; but if you bring ony o’ your triangles here, wi’ there ping-ping-pinkey-pingin’, I’ll pet them doon the syre; that’s what I’ll do. I like music o’ near ony kind. I can pet up wi’ the melodian on the concertina; but yon triangle thing I wudna hae I’ the hoose. You can tell Bandy Wobster he can keep his triangles for his parrots swingin’ on. We want neen o’ them here.” “Tut, Bawbie, ‘oman,” says Sandy, “you’re juist haiverin’ straucht forrit. It’s no’ flute band triangles I mean ava. It’s the anes you see in books—a’ shapes an’ sizes, ye know. Bandy learned a’ aboot them when he was at the sea. Sailors learn aboot them for measurin’ hoo far onywey is frae ony ither wey, d’ye know, d’ye see? Bandy tells me that gomitry—that’s what they ca’ the book fu’ o’ triangles—is a grand thing for learnin’ you to speak; an’ he offered to gi’e me a lesson or twa.” “That’ll be whaur Bandy gets a’ his gab,” says I. “I think, Sandy,” I says, says I, “that you’ve mair need to learn something to garr you haud your tongue. You’ve nae need for learnin’ to speak, weel-a-wat, excep’ it be to speak sense; an’ I dinna suppose gomitry ‘ill do you ony guid that wey. It’s made but a puir job o’ Bandy Webster, at onyrate.” “That’s a’ you ken, Bawbie,” says Sandy. “There’s mair in Bandy than the spune pets in; mind I’m tellin’ you. He was tellin’s aboot some o’ the exyems in gomitry lest nicht, an’, I’ll swag, he garred Cocky Baxter, the auld dominie, chowl his chafts.” “Exyems!” says I. “Is that the same as exy-oey we used to play at on oor sklates at the skule?” “No, no, no, no, no,” says Sandy. “What are you haiverin’ aboot, Bawbie? It’s a different kind o’ thing a’thegither. The first exyem is that onything that’s equal to the same thing as ony ither thing, is equal to the thing that’s equal to the thing to which the ither thing’s equal, d’ye know, d’ye see?” “By faigs, Sandy,” says I, “that’s waur than exy-oey yet. What was’t you said?” “It’s as plain as twice-twa’s fewer, Bawbie, if you juist watch,” says Sandy. “If ae thing is equal till anither thing, an’ the ither thing’s equal to some ither thing that’s equal to the thing that the first thing’s equal till, then you can easy see that the ae thing ‘ill be equal to the ither, as weel as to the ither thing that they’re baith equal till.” I thocht Sandy was raley gettin’ akinda lichtwecht, d’ye ken, for I cud nether mak’ heid nor tail o’ his confused blethers. “Keep me, Bawbie, do you no’ see through’t?” he says, glowerin’ at me wi’ a queer-like look in his e’e. “Gie’s three bawbees! Look now; there’s thae three bawbees. Weel than, here’s twa here, an’ there’s ane there. Noo, this ane here is equal to that ane there, an this ither ane here is equal to that ane there too; so that, when they’re baith equal to that ane, the teen maun be equal to the tither. A blind bat cud see that wi’ its een shut.” Sandy set himsel’ up like’s he’d pey’d a big account or something, an’, gien his heid a gey impident cock to the tae side, he says, “D’ye no’ see’t?” “See’t?” says I, I says. “What wud hender’s frae seein’t? An’ is that what gomitry learns you?” says I. “It is that,” says Sandy. “That’s the first exyem.” “Weel,” says I, “it tak’s a michty lang road to tell you what ony three-’ear-auld bairn in the G-O goes cud tell you in a jiffy.” “Ah, but it’s the mental dreel that’s the vailable thing,” says Sandy. “It learns you to argey, d’ye no’ see? If I had a glisk at gomitry for a nicht or twa, an’ got a puckle triangles an’ parilellygrams into my heid, I’ll be fit to gie a scrieve on the watter question, or the scaffies’ wadges, that’ll garr some o’ oor Toon Cooncillers crook their moos. Wait till you see!” “Ay, Sandy,” says I, “you’ll go an’ get the swine suppered an’ your ither jobs dune, an’, gin ten o’clock were here, you’ll get a coo’s drink, wi’ plenty o’ pepper in’t, an’ get to your bed. Thae washin’-hoose argeymints are affectin’ your nervous system, I’m dootin’. Rin, noo, an see an’ stick in.” I raley thocht, mind you, the wey the cratur was haiverin’, that he wantit tippence i’ the shillin’. “I wad juist like you to hear ane a’ oor debates, an’ you’d cheenge your opinion,” says Sandy. “Bandy promised to tell’s something the morn’s nicht aboot the postylate in gomitry. I juist wiss you heard him.” “What wud there be to hear aboot that?” says I. “Oor ane’s juist the very same; he’s near-hand aye late.” “Wha?” says Sandy, wi’ a winderin’ look in his ee. “Oor pestle!” says I; “he’s aye late. You’ll of’en hear his whistle i’ the street when it’s efter ten o’clock at nicht.” Sandy gaed shauchlin’ oot at the door, chuck-chuck-chuckin’ awa’ till himsel’ like a clockin’ hen, an’ I didna see hint nor hair o’ him for mair than twa ‘oors efter. But what cud ye expeck? That’s juist aye the wey o’ thae men when they get the warst o’t.